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Tributes after tragic passing of Farmers chief executive Rod McDermott

  • Who's Where
  • March 28, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Tributes after tragic passing of Farmers chief executive Rod McDermott

The man who guided Farmers through its 100th anniversary, the launch of its phenomenally successful club card network and its new Auckland flagship, among other seismic changes, has been tragically killed in a car accident. Rod McDermott spent 25 years with Farmers and a decade as its CEO before stepping down at the end of 2016.

McDermott quietly stood down from his role as CEO in October last year. Farmers chief financial officer Michael Power said he was in search of the next challenge:

“Rod had been with Farmers for a total of 25 years and held the CEO role for the last 10 of these years.  After this long period of service he has decided to seek new and different challenges.”

Fairfax has reported that McDermott passed away on March 22 in a head-on collision near Tauranga.

Among McDermott’s recent achievements at Farmers was the club card network, which is one of New Zealand’s most successful loyalty programmes. As of 2013, the network had more than 1.4 million members, and is now producing data used by the heritage retailer to personalise its digital communications to customers.

McDermott also fronted the launch of Farmers’ new metro-style Queen St flagship, which opened in November 2015 after a $5 million fit-out. The lavish store was a bold step for Farmers, which had closed an earlier Queen St store a year earlier.

“When you’re in the same street as European luxury brands and new overseas brands, you really need to put your best foot forward,” McDermott then said.

Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s general manager, public affairs, praised McDermott’s impact on the New Zealand retail industry: “Rod had a significant role in New Zealand retail and we are sad to hear of his tragic passing”.

The Retail Collective’s retail experience director, Lisa Donaldson, shared these memories of McDermott:

I worked at Farmers for 13 years, so it was impossible not to know Rod McDermott. There is no doubt Rod was a trader, but one that was extremely passionate and focused on one brand - Farmers.

This passion underpinned Rod’s determination and single minded strategic vision, and he was sometimes tough in his quest to achieve his desired outcome for the business. He was also kind and gentle with impeccable taste, a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh.

I am very grateful I had the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of category management by watching Rod develop and conduct the merchandise strategy.

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Kiwi retailers cash in on Singles’ Day

  • News
  • November 21, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Kiwi retailers cash in on Singles’ Day

The Chinese holiday Singles’ Day, popularised by Alibaba as the ’11.11 Global Shopping Festival’, is now the biggest sale event in the world. Alibaba reports that US$25.3 billion of gross merchandise volume was settled during the 24 hours of Singles’ Day this year. Not all of that went to Chinese retailers, however – a handful of Kiwis made the most of the opportunity.

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Updated: Noel Leeming launches a dedicated after-purchase services division

  • Technology
  • November 20, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Updated: Noel Leeming launches a dedicated after-purchase services division

The Warehouse Group’s electronics retailer Noel Leeming has been looking at expanding its focus on services this year. Now, it’s launched a dedicated after-purchase services division: MyTechSolution. The change also means that customers will be charged for access to Noel Leeming's helpdesk if the request goes beyond a "quick fix".

Read more
 
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Cameras aren’t just for security anymore

  • In Association with Axis Communications / Sektor
  • November 20, 2017
Cameras aren’t just for security anymore

In-store video cameras revolutionised loss prevention when they first became available to retailers, but as camera technology continues to evolve, they can now provide a plethora of data that supports better business decisions.

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Sale squared: Onceit talks deep discounts and sale events

  • News
  • November 20, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Sale squared: Onceit talks deep discounts and sale events

Kiwi high-end clearance ecommerce store Onceit works with more than 400 suppliers from New Zealand’s fashion, beauty and homewares industries to offload excess stock without brand damage. We had a chat with executive director Jay Goodey ahead of its once-yearly sale of sales.

Read more
 
 
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